How to Create a Rosie the Riveter Hairstyle

Brunette striking a famous Rosie Riveter pose

Rosie the Riveter is perhaps one of the most iconic images of working women. After all, she was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II. Creating her 40s-inspired, pin-up hairstyle with the classic bandana is straightforward once you know how.

Equipment for Rosie the Riveter's Hair

Before you begin this tutorial, make sure that you have the correct equipment to hand.

  • Curling iron, ideally with a 1.25 inch barrel
  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray
  • A hair tie
  • Hair wax or smoothing cream
  • A round bristle brush or tailcomb for teasing
  • Red bandana

Creating the Style Step By Step

Once you have everything that you need, proceed with the following steps:

Step One: Part and Tie Back Your Hair

  1. Part the bang area in a deep U shape from the peaks of your eyebrows to midway back of your scalp.
  2. Tie the rest of your hair back into a low ponytail and secure with a hair tie.

Step Two: Curl the Hair

  1. Split your bang section of hair into 5 or 6 small sections and curl in the traditional manner.
  2. Use a round bristle brush and/or your fingers to comb out the curls gently to produce one giant curl.

Step Three: Create Volume

  1. Create extra volume at the roots of your bang section using a tailcomb. Separate the hair into a few small sections and hold each one upward. Then take your comb, start a couple of inches from your roots, and backcomb in a downwards motion towards your roots.
  2. Once you've backcombed all sections, lay the hair in the direction that you want the curl to form and smooth it down using hair wax or smoothing cream.

Step Four: Pin Curl the Bangs

Develop your curled bangs into a pin curl by winding the hair up and around your fingers until you reach your forehead. Secure it at the top with bobby pins. Try to conceal the bobby pins carefully so it doesn't ruin the look of the pin curl.

Step Five: Secure the Ponytail

Twist your ponytail, hold it upright, and fold it over to one side. Pin it up into place using as many bobby pins as it takes.

Step Six: Add the Bandana

  1. Grab your red bandana and fold it in half. Wrap it up over the tops of your ears and tie it into a knot right behind the pin curl at the top of your scalp. Tuck the ends into your pinned up hairdo.
  2. Use bobby pins to secure the bandana in place all around the edges and finish off with as much as hairspray as is needed to keep your look intact.

Pin-Up Variations for Different Types of Hair

There are a few variations for this hairstyle depending on your hair type and the look that you're going for.

Short Hair

You might struggle when it comes to scooping your short hair into a ponytail to be able to twist it and pin it up. Instead, simply twist small sections of your hair when it's hanging loose and pin each of them up using bobby pins.

Long Hair

Pinning up long hair can be a challenge, therefore consider putting your hair into a wrap-around bun rather than a ponytail. This looks fabulous when it's piled at the top of your head and peeking out from below your bandana.

Thick Hair

Use less hair in the bang section if you'd like to create the pin curl at the front. Alternatively, you can skip the pin curl step and just leave your hair in one giant curl at the front for a varied aesthetic.

Thin Hair

Rather than opting for a pin curl, which might not look too prominent with thin hair, consider building a quiff at the front instead.

  1. Follow steps one and two as normal.
  2. Split your bang section into a few smaller sections.
  3. Curl each front section backward to create body.
  4. With each side section, curl it inward.
  5. Backcomb as per step three and then style your bang section into a quiff shape and secure it with bobby pins.
  6. Continue the remaining steps as normal.

Practice Makes Perfect

Whether you're coordinating the Rosie the Riveter hairdo with a matching costume for Halloween or simply want to rock this 40s-inspired look for every day, practice makes perfect when it comes to the technique. And, once you master it, you'll soon be turning heads for all the right reasons.

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How to Create a Rosie the Riveter Hairstyle